Hertz Corporation Rental Car History | Hertz Rental Cars

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Hertz Rental Car History

Hertz is much more than a rental car business. We are a company that prides itself on dedication to customers' changing needs by offering a wide variety of vehicles and services. We boast a rich history of significant first steps, ambitious ideas and innovation that has formed our company into the reputable brand it is today. Discover why millions of customers every year trust Hertz for their rental car needs.


How It All Began

In 1918, an ambitious pioneer of auto renting named Walter Jacobs began what is now known as The Hertz Corporation. At the age of 22, Jacobs founded a car rental company with a mere 12 Model-Ts and set up shop just south of Chicago's loop. He sold the company to John D. Hertz in 1923 but remained a prominent figure in the company until his retirement in 1960. Together, Jacobs and Hertz swiftly turned the small "Rent-a-Ford" company into a well-known brand. In fact, by 1925, Hertz was generating annual revenues of about $1 million.


Adapting to Customer Needs

From the start, Hertz embodied the customer-comes-first mindset. By 1925, the company set up a coast-to-coast rental network to accommodate for the expanding boundaries of travel in the U.S. The next year, Hertz offered the first advanced reservations and a new program called Rail-Drive - a service in which Hertz provided a rental vehicle for vacationers right when they stepped off the train.


Travelers began to see that there were no limits with Hertz, both geographically and economically. In 1926, Hertz rolled out the National Credential Card, which served as the industry's first identification card and a precursor to the credit card. However, dedication to customer convenience didn't end there. Hertz soon began accommodating air travelers, opening the first airport rent-a-car facility at Chicago's Midway Airport in 1932 and introducing Fly-Drive rental car program.


Expanding Across the World and Through the Industry

Hertz's dedication to customer service allowed the company to branch out beyond the previous U.S.-only rental car services. In 1950, Hertz opened its first European location in France. Just five years later, Hertz became the first rental company with 1,000 locations. Today, The Hertz Corporation has corporate, licensee and franchise locations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and New Zealand. Beyond car rentals, we now work with vehicle leasing and fleet management as well.


Putting Service First with Technology

A common theme throughout the company's history that still holds true today is its commitment to speed and convenience. Advancement of technology, especially during the 1960s and '70s, allowed Hertz to use computers to simplify and speed up the rental process. In 1972, Hertz introduced the #1 Club, now known as Hertz Gold Plus Rewards®, a computerized data system that allowed club members to use Express Service. The service eventually expanded its benefits, allowing club members to bypass the airport counter and move directly from the airplane to a Hertz rental car in 1989. The 1990s brought the on-board navigation system NeverLost and the company's first website.


The turn of the century allowed Hertz to combine forward thinking with passion for customer service. In addition to growing the possibilities of the award-winning Hertz Gold Plus Rewards to reward loyal customers, Hertz now offers speed and convenience with continued technology innovation in mobile apps, mobile alerts, eReceipts, Express Rent Kiosks and more. Hertz further differentiates itself from competitors by offering customers top-of-the-line products and services designed to bring speed and convenience at every turn. Additionally, Hertz provides extensive car choices from the eco-friendly hybrids as part of its Green Traveler Collection to the high-performance luxury models available in its Dream Cars® collection.


Diverse Brand Portfolio

In 2013, Hertz developed and expanded its portfolio of rental car brands, which now includes a broad range of varied offerings, both on and off airport, at approximately 10,300 locations across the globe. The combination of Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty and Firefly, creates the world's most diverse global car rental company. Whether a customer is looking for a budget-friendly rental the whole family can enjoy or is taking a business trip where speed and ease are the utmost priorities, we have it all. Each brand has a distinct personality and offers a unique experience, while embodying the Hertz drive to maximize value and customer satisfaction.


Today and the Future

Now, nearly a century later, The Hertz Corporation has grown into a worldwide reputable brand. We are the largest worldwide airport general-use car rental brand. Book Now